The Erotic Mind-Control Story Archive

Ex Nihilo

Commission by Anonymous

Chapter 4 — Linga Koba

Magic didn’t exist. The world operated under strict, consistent and incorruptible mechanics that bound cause to effect and action to consequence.

And yet, Tonia Sandström saw a river of magma flowing out of Terminal 4 and on the road outside. The iconic building hadn’t even caught in flames, though its roof glowed with molten steel. It was a surreal sight, as if a great serpent of pure, insanely hot energy had burrowed through, melting every material in its path and leaving the rest intact. The attractive scientist had just gotten out of her boss’ vehicle, and already she knew following him had been a huge mistake.

“I trust you won’t attempt to rationalize that kind of bullshit?” Asked Saul Dawson in a somber tone.

“Even if you could induce a volcanic eruption in fucking Long Island, there is no possible way the destruction would be that inconsistent. Either I’m hallucinating or someone just broke science. Or more correctly, reality itself.”

Just as she said that, Tonia and Saul noticed something. From across the street where they were, they could see someone standing amid the charred corpses inside the terminal. An almost naked, slim African woman, standing between two streams of magma.

“That must be her!” Growled Saul through his teeth. “The one that attacked us was a Jap slut, and by the looks of it she wasn’t the team’s heavy hitter. I was expecting some shit but this is just insane.”

“She isn’t even carrying any kind of weapon!” Observed Tonia. “Did she really do that by herself?”

“I’m afraid she did. Here’s what I know. There’s this crazy lady named Grace Rivers, right? She brainwashes girls into sex slavery for a living.”

“What the...?”

“Later.” Interrupted the CEO. “I think that somewhere along the way, she invented some brainwashing method that unlocks brain powers or some shit. No idea how this would work so don’t ask me, but since Rivers is involved, it definitely has something to do with the human mind. Once her subject is prepped, there’s no incantation, no wand, no Harry Potter shit whatsoever. Just...think of whatever, and bam, you’re done.”

“All-powerful and perfectly loyal. Awesome. How do you expect me to do anything about that monster again? That’s a job for the fucking army!”

“Sandström, that bitch Rivers spared me on the condition that I call the army.”

Silence. Tonia gulped, realizing what this meant.

“Shit. This is a show of strength.”

“Right.” Nodded the bald colossus. “Bitch can probably sublimate bullets. It would be a goddamn slaughter.”

“Okay, this is bad. There is no way the army isn’t zeroing in right now.”

“Right. Heroes are going to die tonight if we don’t do something. And I might be wrong, but I think the only way to take down a living weapon designed to fight against an army is to bypass all her defenses and go straight for the mind.”

“No mind, no magic. So you thought of my prototype.”

“That’s the gist of it, Toni girl. Feeling up to it?”

The Norse blonde gulped. She definitely hadn’t left her bed this morning thinking she’d become a movie hero. She looked at the African mage. That monster was now running towards a group of Port Authority agents that had just arrived on the scene. Saul had been right—firing their guns on her did as much good as praying to a loving God. She couldn’t tell from a distance exactly what the African did to the bullets, but after neutralizing them, She kicked the air in front of her, sending a flame crescent to engulf the poor sods and end their lives in fiery agony. About five meters to Tonia’s right, in relative safety, a teenager was filming the scene on his phone. There went any hope of keeping that shit under wraps.

Tonia put her brain scrambling prototype on and clenched her fist. Fikile the Firestorm had hit too hard. The world had already reached the point of no return. The time for heroes was now.

“Alright, but I want my power metal tribute afterward.”

* * *

Fikile was standing in front of a steel door. A burnt corpse was leaning on it, clutching its handle. She didn’t remember targeting this one. Had it been a guard or a bystander?

“Eh, who cares?”

Giving the stiff no further thought, she touched the security door with her outstretched hand. It didn’t start to glow, or even melt. The big metal slab simply became flames that dissipated in an instant. There was nothing left. No glowing remains, no smoke, not even any burn marks on the door frame. With most flies dealt with, the African doll was done with the showy stuff. Time to get serious.

Annoyingly, the communications room in front of Fikile wasn’t deserted. Two cockroaches, a man and a woman, scurried to separate corners in abject fright.

“Please don’t kill me!” Practically yelled the woman while the man did nothing but chatter his teeth. “I’ve got a family!”

“Yeah, I’m sure you’re the only one in the entire airport.”

The middle-aged blonde woman whimpered and buried her head in her knees. Fikile frowned in utter contempt. The only thing more disgusting than these magic-fearing lowlives was that she had need of them.

“Listen here, you little shits. I need one of you alive to broadcast a message, so let’s do the ‘answer this question and you might live’ thing. Sound good?”


“Awesome. What’s the Pythagorean theorem?”

The skinny, pattern-bald man talked for the first time, almost tripping over his own words in haste.

“The square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the other two...I mean the squares of the other two sides!”


With a malicious grin, Fikile snapped her fingers and lit blue flames inside the poor man’s stomach.

“The answer is WHO FUCKING CARES?!”

Before he could wail in agony, she conjured a stream of searing hot volcanic ash from her hands and into his open mouth. The innocent woman nearly went into shock seeing her colleague’s hellish expression, but somehow remained anchored to the waking nightmare.

“Mother could just create a sister able to make M.C. Escher a reality anyway.” Fikile then turned to the trembling employee. “So, ready to work?”

“Y-y-yes...” She answered with a hollow voice as she rose.

“Big Sister Giulietta reconfigured this computer after the Paris stint.” The black magician explained nonchalantly. “Open a channel to the Orly airport tower/approach channel with that button over there toggled.”

“What? But that’s the...”

“Don’t care. Do it.”

As the woman obeyed, struggling to control her shaking fingers, the African tomboy looked over her shoulder. There was nobody in sight, but she didn’t want any of those rational rats to interrupt Mother’s plan. She snapped her fingers once again, and the door frame started dripping with white hot thermite.

“I-i-it’s done...” Declared the employee, before hesitantly adding “Mistress.”

“Hm...Good call.” Commented the killer doll, intrigued. “You might have a place in this world.”

With a mischievous smirk, Fikile walked to the woman and grabbed her chest, glancing at the name tag.

“Moira, hmm? If you mean it, look for the office of Doctor Grace Rivers after this is over. She’ll give you the power to help create the new world.”

Moira shuddered. Did a random hunch just give her the opportunity to join the apparently all-powerful villains? Or stop them. Yes, that was the right thing to do...was it? The black woman let go of her breasts, much to her relief, and turned to the microphone.

* * *

The way into the communications room suddenly became a lethal hazard. Saul Dawson, peeking from behind a vending machine ruined by a stray fireball, punched the wall in frustration.

“Fuck! This was the perfect opportunity! That flaming fucking neg—”

“Hold on!” Tonia hurried to interrupt her boss. “Is that goddamn thermite?”

“Hm...White hot, powdered...looks like it, yeah.”

“She likes her variation, doesn’t it? Looks like every heat hazard in the world is in her command and she wants to show the hell out of it.”

“I’d use nothing but pyroclastic flow if I was her.” Mused the giant. “Would kick ass.”

Tonia glared at Saul. Had that guy ever been appropriate in his life?

“Anyway,” She observed, “Looks like we’ve got no choice but wait until she’s done with this room.”


The improvised heroes knew they had to know when Fikile would move again, but also that they couldn’t risk her even suspecting their presence. So they retreated behind a wall, focusing only on sound.

It turned out there was no need for that, for the pyromancer’s voice started blaring from the speakers.

“Is it working? Sweet. Okay you maggots, listen well! I bet you’re feeling pretty damn smug at being the most insultingly shitty predator in existence and still conquering the world. Well, as I’m illustrating at JFK airport right now, your position in the food chain is about to take a huge fucking nosedive!”

But it didn’t come solely from the speakers. Saul and Tonia could hear the mage’s voice from a much closer source...Their phones. Incredulous, they picked them up, only to see their screens displaying strange patterns of multicolored lines spreading in branches along a dark background. In the middle of those patterns was a video of Fikile herself in an unusual round frame.

“See, my sisters and I, we can do whatever the hell we want.” Continued the African with a smug and triumphant look. “You drones spend your whole life saying ‘It can’t be helped! That’s just the way things are!’ You read about laws of physics, laws of man, laws of morality, and eat it the fuck up because that knowledge supposedly differentiates you from animals. Well you know what would truly set you apart? Following my example, demanding reality nothing short than complete obedience, and leave this prison of a civilization behind!”

To demonstrate, Fikile produced a surviving part of the destroyed Terminal 4 infrastructure. It was thick, heavy, and unmistakeably steely. She looked at it, and the beam fragment started to glow and melt.

“Try this at home, kids. It’s the future.”

With a snide laugh, she let the searing hot liquid coat her hand. It seemed no less harmful to her than tap water, but when it started dripping on the control console below, it wreaked havoc on the electronics. Saul and Tonia knew this was no special effect, but the question was, how many people would ask themselves that?

“It’s on the damn ad panels, too!” Observed Tonia as she peeked into the lobby. “They’re forcing every receiver to broadcast her message!”

“Tcht, it’s like a vlogger’s fucking wet dream. What’s worrying me is how she mentioned being at the airport, though. That means it’s not just happening here, isn’t it?”

“I’m just going to assume the worst here and guess she just showed everyone in New York that magic was real.”

“What a great fucking time to be alive.”

Both scientists heard the thermite wall subsiding, and Fikile walking out of the room, humming contently. Tonia had the urge to rush to her and end it, but her body wouldn’t move. She might have been a driven, willful woman, but venturing beyond the scientific status quo was absolutely small time compared to opposing such a monster. One wrong step meant fiery death. And even if she did manage to successfully sneak up on her, would her prototype even work? This woman could very well have entirely different brainwaves, for crying out loud.

Suddenly, four men in full combat attire ran into the room. They were covered in body armor from head to toe and carried assault rifles. They advanced discreetly, without so much as a spoken word. Tonia knew very little in the way of the military, but she could tell the army had sent out the big boys. They spread out around the room, motioning her and Saul to stay put as one of them used some manner of L-shaped device to look past the door.

Tonia felt relief and hope. If anyone could take down the pyromancer, surely it would be special forces like these. Yet, her mind came back to what her boss had said...That Rivers character wanted the army on her killer doll. And rationally speaking, why would she expect nothing but the best of the best? Since nuking wasn’t an option in goddamn New York, the next best thing would definitely be some kind of strike squad.

After a series of hand signals, the team began to move out. They were out of the scientists’ sight in seconds. The pair didn’t dare move or utter a word. Was Fikile really able to take those guys out? Either way, it was best to hunker down and wait for the confrontation to end.

After a half-minute of uncertainty, the first sound they heard was a faint hiss. A smoke grenade? Whatever it was, the magician didn’t react in any audible way. Then weapons started firing. Tonia tensed up. The squad had to win. They were some of the best. The peak of skill, organization and technology, celebrated through countless movies. They were more American than the airport itself, dammit!

There were short bursts of fire for about five seconds. Creating ignited thermite was one thing, but there was no way she could stop so many bullets in midair, especially in a smokescreen...Right?

There was a bright flash, so intense that the reflection on the wall opposite to Tonia blinded her. With the light came a terrible noise, a cacophony of death and material destruction. She felt heat surge as well, like she had been suddenly thrown into a sauna. It vanished almost as soon as it appeared, She managed to silence a pained groan, and soon realized that had been a good idea. Right after the explosion, there had been nothing but deathly silence. No screams, no impacts, nothing. Shocked, her mind flooding with questions and fears, Tonia held her breath as if the reality bender was just feet away, ready to end the futile chase. The first sound to break the silence, however, was a welcome one.

“Argh, goddamit! Those fucks had more bite than expected...”

Tonia released all the tension within her in a deep, relieved sigh. Fikile the Firestorm was at a reasonable distance away, and the pain in her voice was just the ray of hope she needed after the terrible light. Whatever horrible fate the warriors suffered, they had at least managed to wound her. A faint “yesss” told her that her boss had come to the same conclusion, however ruthless to the fallen squad it was. And though the mage’s bare feet made it hard to hear her walk away, her groans and curses did the job just fine. Unwilling to take any risks, the scientists waited a while before hazarding a peek.

“Oh fu—” Gasped Saul, putting his hand in front of his mouth.

The smoke had completely cleared, leaving the slaughtered soldiers’ bodies on full display. Their full combat garb has melted down to fuse with their bodies. It hid the extent of the damage, but still looked pretty damn gruesome. Around them, the entire environment had been affected. What had been a shopping lane now looked like a post-apocalypse scene. The glass panes had been shattered, blown away and partially melted in one fell swoop. Everything flammable was burning, the electronics were ruined, the metals distorted. Even the concrete walls’ outer layers had softened down into wavy, surreal shapes.

“What the hell kind of temperatures did she conjure,” Hushed Dawson, “And why are we still alive?”

“Thousands of degrees Celsius at the very least,” Answered Tonia in a similarly quiet tone, “Though I think only in a short burst.”

“Well, on the bright side she didn’t cast a fucking Gamma Ray Burst.”

Tonia bitterly scoffed at the idea, but did not linger on the planetary annihilation it evoked. There was blood on the floor, right in the middle of a circular burn mark, that continued in a twin trail towards the waiting room.

“They did hit her. Multiple wounds, too.”

“Yeah...Let’s hope she doesn’t teleport away or some shit, because that’s our chance to get the drop on her.”

* * *

Fikile was burning with rage as she limped towards the escape point. Not at herself—she might have been a smidge overconfident, but she never imagined she would walk out unscathed. She had simply expected better. Something...grand. Like navy SEALS fast-roping down a helicopter, or perhaps the helicopter itself firing missiles at her as the Ride of the Valkyries blared in the background.

“But nooo, you had to send some boring, rigorous faggots who can’t even show character as they save their world. If the Pentagon doesn’t get fun to fight next time Mom calls me, I’m fucking Verneshooting them.”

She clutched her left thigh and right shoulder. She had cauterized the bullet wounds but that did nothing against the internal damage. Mom could fix it easily, her powers being exclusively geared towards caring for her, but Fikile felt a pang of shame having to be a Mama’s girl now of all times. It was Giu’s role, dammit!

“I swear to fuck!” She seethed. “If there’s another one of those squads, I’m going to melt down the Empire State Building if that’s the last thing I do.”

That would never happen, of course. Fikile would never let Mom lose all four of her babies. She was simply angry and frustrated enough to forget the all-important programming for a split second. This world of swinging suitcases had power in all the wrong places. There was no reforming it, no saving it. The black doll had the intimate conviction that Magic had revealed itself to her Mom just so this trainwreck of a civilization could be blown clear off the tracks.

Past the waiting room was the baggage claim. And what should Fikile see but dozens upon dozens of suitcases pulled off the conveyor belts, their contents strewn across the floor. She hadn’t even destroyed anything in this place, but looters sure stepped up. There was still one group rummaging frantically through the abandoned luggage. Were they men? Women? Black or white? The mage incinerated them before anyone could say it mattered. Then she made her way to the designated door with a smile. Annoyances aside, she had wrecked some shit today. This world of maggots was sure to be crapping its pants tomor...

Fikile’s glee was cut short by an explosion inside her skull. A moment of shock, and then nothingness. Her whole body went limp, and her mind void. She crumpled to the floor like a raggedy doll.

* * *

“HA! The wicked witch doctor is dead!”

Tonia Sandström had the biggest grin on her face. She couldn’t believe her luck! While she was sneaking on the living nuclear bomb, she had stepped on a small plastic case. The small but audible crunch could have been the end of the line, if Fikile hadn’t been busy fuming. But she had, and Tonia had been able to close the distance. World conquering was like any job—one should keep their mouth shut and just fucking do it.

“I LOVE it when prototypes work perfectly!” Saul roared with a single, loud clap of his hand. “How long is she going to be out?”

“Well this is no normal syncope...” The blonde answered professionally, though still smirking. “Her non-vital nerve signals are scrambled. This is the first live trial, but according to my theory, the effects should be similar to deep sleep.”

“Awesome. Tell you what, look after the bitch, the army’s bound to notice the situation sometime. Just to be on the safe side, I’ll look around to see if there’s any sedatives in the infirmary or whatever. ”

“Sounds like a plan, boss.”

The colossus departed, and all of a sudden, Tonia felt a weight on her shoulders. Maybe it was the adrenaline wearing off, or the post-apocalyptic appearance of her surroundings. Tens of thousands worth of belongings were scattered everywhere, the three looters were still sizzling, and some heavy things were still collapsing loudly at ground zero. The slumbering monster responsible was right in front of her, but in this moment, she merely looked like a pretty young woman sleeping. Eyes wide open. Tonia opted to carefully close them. She had more than enough nightmare fuel already.

Then she stood up, stretching as hard as she could to shake off the built-up tension. She had seen so much today, even a terminal workaholic such as herself was seized by the urge of going home and telling everything to go fuck itself. After all, what in the possible hell was going to happen now? If her theory was right, so many people had received the mage’s broadcast, the entire world would know about it by sundown.

There would be skeptics, sure, but the worm was in the apple. People always wanted to believe in the supernatural, and only the unequivocal absence of evidence kept that instinct in check. Well, nothing about the situation had even the beginning of a rational explanation. From the strange stuff in smartphones’ screens to the wildly inconsistent damage in the airport itself, even the nuttiest of conspiracy theorists would have a field day.

The only silver lining to this dizzyingly fucked state of affairs was that she had caught the culprit, and Saul knew the woman behind her. Unless the military fucked up and dismissed the both of them as crazy, Rivers could get caught before she threw the whole planet in disarray. Things could, maybe, still be salvageable.

A voice behind her dashed those hopes in a hurry.

“Per l’amor di Dio, Fikile!”

Tonia spun around. The black woman had disappeared, replaced by a small, cute teenager with a puffy blonde bob and extravagant clothes. A multicolored harlequin vest topped with a small ruff half-circling her neck, and 16th century hose with loose slops around her thighs. She looked at Tonia and smiled, eyes closed.

“Hi, I’m Giulietta, but you can call me Giu! I don’t know what you did to my little sister” She said with a thick Italian accent, “But you are lucky I was the one to take the helm!”

“What do you mean?” Nervously asked Tonia as she took a step back.

“Well, since we’re unstable, we’ve got a backup system, you see. I was chosen over Nami for once, and if you’re not of the, huh, lewd disposition, you’ll be relieved I was.”

Tonia gulped. This doll was infinitely less threatening than the African, yet she made the researcher shudder. She just brought up endless questions, all of them eerie at best. What were her powers? Metamorphosis? She did seem to have morphed into her current form, clothes and all and free from injuries. If she was an alternate persona able to take over as one was disabled, how many of them were there? How was she able to take over if her brainwaves were scrambled? Was she as friendly as she pretended to be? Was Tonia screwed?

“You’ll forgive me if I’m not up to a friendly chatter, Giu.”

“Roooh! Why?” Asked the Italian, despondent but earnest. “I don’t want anyone to be harmed, I just want everybody to enjoy magic!”

“While your sisters slaughter wholesale.”

“Well...” Pouted Giulietta. “Magic doesn’t work just by believing in it, otherwise that world would already be crawling with wizards. You have to break down the sense of the existing reality somewhat. I don’t like it, but that’s how it is...”

Was that girl supposed to be the good cop? It would make some kind of twisted sense to have positive figures in Mrs. Rivers’ future. There had to be a carrot somewhere after skewering so many people on the stick. Still, Tonia had precisely zero reason to trust this fashion-impaired chick, and the military was still nowhere in sight. She couldn’t take any chances. She raised her glove, praying it still worked, and fired at the Italian.

Nothing happened.

“No.” Uttered Tonia, panicked. “No no no no. Don’t malfunction NOW you fucking piece of shit goddam...”

“Hee hee! Don’t blame your gizmo, that was my doing.”

Tonia looked at the gleeful young blonde. Her power was definitely not metamorphosis. Was it affecting electronic devices? That would explain Fikile’s universal broadcast...

“Don’t worry though, I won’t kill you. I can, but all I want is to defend my Mamma and her magical world! In fact...what’s your name?”

“Huh...Tonia?” She answered without thinking.

“Grazie! Lemme look at Mamma’s list...”

The Italian snapped her fingers, and a small notebook blinked into existence in her other hand. What the hell? There went the electronics manipulation theory. Tonia’s inquisitive mind was captivated. It was established each doll had a shtick. What was Giu’s? What could possibly tie all these different effects together?

“Tamara...Tameem...Two Terrences...Several Tinas...” Enumerated Giu. “Sure glad Mamma sorted the list by first name...Ah! Are you Tonia Sandström?”

The attractive researcher was taken aback. What in the fuck?

“You totally are!” Beamed the mysterious mage. “See, Mamma really wanted to make sure the plan would succeed. She doesn’t cook a risotto without watching the pot the entire time, my Mamma. So she made a huge list of potential hindrances with the data she blackmailed out of her clients, and set things up so my power could easily neutralize them. Well, up to five of them anyway...”

That was all the foreboding Tonia could take. Summoning the strength of countless workouts, she threw a punch at Giulietta’s face as hard and as quick as she could.

She only struck air.

“Awww, don’t be mad!” Came a giggling voice behind her. “You’re going to become a mage! My newest sister too, knowing Mamma.”

There was the sound of snapping fingers, and suddenly...

* * *

Tonia was in darkness.

“Oh, what the fuck is happening now?!”

Her first thought was that Giulietta had turned the lights off, but her sense of touch said otherwise. Her gauntlet was gone, as were her clothes. She now wore only a loose hospital gown and flip-flops. She checked her immediate surroundings with her hands, and found a wall right next to her. She felt it, hoping to find a switch, and was quickly rewarded for her efforts. When the light came on, however, Tonia wished she hadn’t found it.

She was in a tiny room, barely even fit for a desperate undergrad. There was a standard bed, a table with a computer, and a bathroom behind a sliding door. The walls were plastered with sickeningly girly wallpaper, as if she had been shrunk down and put into a doll’s miniature bedroom.

There were no windows, no doors, nothing. She had no way to know where she was. There could still be the airport beyond the walls, or they could be the boundaries of a micro dimension. The killer dolls had demonstrated it at length—there was no perceivable limits to their power. Despair struck Tonia like a physical blow as Giulietta’s words rang in her ears. She was going to become a mage herself. Ergo, Grace Rivers, the enslaver turned supervillainess, was going to brainwash her.

Alone and powerless, Tonia Sandström started screaming.

* * *

Unbeknownst to her, Giulietta started turning back into Aurore just two stories above. She put her elaborate outfit back in the closet with one snap of her fingers, then lay down on the luxurious living room’s sofa. She wasn’t sad to feel her thoughts slow down at all. Unlike Nami and Fikile, she knew everything about her Mother’s plan. She was aware of her own purpose. Aurore was the real one; she was just a figment. But that was alright.

In fact, Giu was even excited to let Aurore take over, for one simple reason. She couldn’t wait to know what kind of magic Big Sis would be able to wield. Shapeshifting? Space bending? Bah, whatever it is, it would be beautiful. All magic is. Magic is simply

Aurore rubbed her eyes, then frowned. Had she gotten drunk last night? She simply couldn’t remember going to sleep, or even her daily ritual in the pool. There was...checking a bunch of boxes in the basement, and then nothing. She knew her employer would likely not give a shit if she deserted her job before noon, but it still hurt her meager pride somewhat. Plus, she knew her memory was going to shit, but that was pushing it. She checked the digital clock next to the TV—Friday, a bit past 9 PM. Past midnight in France, but maybe the TiVo recorded a good nature documentary or something.

When she turned on the TV, however, she was surprised to see CNN.

“What the hell? Did the French filter break or something?”

The channel’s nationality quickly became irrelevant, however, when Aurore considered the subject of the broadcast.

“Did the military report anything yet, David?” Asked the news anchor to the reporter.

“No yet, Rudi! Things have apparently calmed down in Terminal 4, but after losing the first intervention squad, I wouldn’t be surprised if they would choose not to take any risks!”

“What about the broadcast hijacking? Does anyone know how they managed to commandeer the networks in such a scale?”

“Nothing yet, but as a amateur radio hobbyist myself, I can say that if it’s not magic like the perpetrator claims, well, I don’t know any technology like it.”

Aurore unleashed her most aggressive frown. What the hell was this bullshit now?

“We’ll get back to you on that, David. This just in, we have footage of Terminal 4.”

The image switched to a helicopter’s view of the JFK airport. The building’s white roof was partially melted. “Whelp” Aurore thought. “Guess terrorists are too dumb to manage it past the airport now.”

“For those joining us,” The anchor explained, “The airport was the target of a shocking attack tonight. Witness report a young, African-American woman going in the terminal and starting to assault people with what appears to be fire magic. Now we know this sounds preposterous, but the footage speaks for itself.”

The overhead view switched to shoddy, shaky cellphone footage taken from outside the terminal. Aurore was taken aback. Though the black chick they spoke of couldn’t be seen clearly, the fucking lava surrounding her absolutely could. If it was a joke, whoever made the practical effects could collapse the universe with the sheer mass of his balls.

“A few minutes after this, and well after anyone in the terminal was either dead or gone, the terrorist somehow hijacked every telecommunications device as far as Manhattan. Here is the message in its entirety.”

Right on cue, the black chick’s vlog post started playing. She was in a dark room which exit door was blocked by a fucking wall of fire.

“Putain de merde.” Aurore swore, absolutely shocked.

“Is it working?” Asked Fikile in the playback. “Sweet. Okay you maggots, listen well!”

And thus, the French doll heard her own passionate speech as her true self. She couldn’t remember saying it at all, but that mattered not. As Fikile belittled thousands of years of human progress, Aurore felt a strange, alien passion grow in her heart.

The African was right. Civilization was nothing but an hypocritical shitshow. Her wealthy father had shunned her for thinking that, but it didn’t make it any less true. She had largely withdrawn from society as a result, depending on her benefactor. Fikile, meanwhile, had a purpose. She hadn’t given up on society, she had set out to conquer it. Aurore would have dismissed the sentiment as complete and utter stupidity if it wasn’t for the power she wielded.

As the steel piece started melting, Aurore drew a sharp breath. This was no illusion. This was a very real way of truly ascending above the shitpile. She wanted this power. She needed it. It was as if all her life had existed just for this moment. With reality at her command, she wouldn’t need to put up with this shitty world. She could rule it, or a the very least tell it to fuck off and be met with fearful acceptance. If she could become a mage, she would be complete.

The genuine, determined desire made all the locks in Aurore’s mind shatter. Just as Fikile’s message ended, the French introvert realized she had been the one speaking. She felt every impulse that made fire come out of her hands. She remembered willing steel to melt. She remembered slaughtering the magicless pigs, culling corrupt congressmen, turning every power line in Paris into a malfunctioning one. She remembered Grace taking complete control of her mind so she could teach her the knowledge.

Dazed and unable to know what to make of it all, Aurore instinctively extended her hand. The TV was too noisy, so she turned it off. Her eyes fluttered. The remote was still on the sofa. She had used Giulietta’s power.

Confronted with the whole truth, Aurore’s mind teetered between rage and euphoria. She had been a goddamn guinea pig, but could she really argue with the results? She wasn’t fragmented anymore. Giu, Nami and Fikile were truly parts of her now. Aurore could, for instance, simply choose to become outgoing and flirty like Nami, and summon her fishy friends. She had been a doll for months, but now...She was better in every respect. Part of her still wanted to kill Grace for what she had done, but...Would there even be a point?

The entrance door opened, and Grace walked in, causing Aurore to gulp. She had made herself beautiful for the occasion. She wore a gorgeous red dress and a sheer scarf wrapped around her shoulders. She walked to the French woman with a confident step.

“The moment of truth.” Grace declared with a warm smile. “Will you kill me, or will you submit?”

Aurore raised her hand and sparked a fireball. There was hesitation in her mind, but clearly Grace had betrayed, used, humiliated her. Whatever was going to happen in the long run, Aurore needed her tormentor to scream now.

“Come now, Aurore. I know you’re angry, but you’re a good girl...You wouldn’t hurt your mother...”

“What the hell are you...”

Out of the blue, a jolt shook the young woman’s nervous system. Her fireball was snuffed out, her jaw clenched and her knees buckled. Her arms tried to go in several directions at once, as did her eyes, painfully so.


Grace raised an eyebrow. While her infantilization routines certainly should have kicked in, the effect shouldn’t have been this dramatic. Aurore looked as if she had been mildly electrocuted. Concerned, she walked to her guinea pig and gently caressed her hair.

“Get the...ggk...Hell off me...!”

“Heavens, you are a wreck...Are they trying to act all at once? Something must have happened during your assignment as Fikile. What a disappointment...I wanted you to be clear headed for this moment. So you could accept me, finally...Good grief...I suppose I’ll have to give up on the theatrics.”

The silver-haired woman’s disappointment was as palpable as her dark determination. She looked like a woman scorn, all remains of empathy for Aurore burned by her obsession.

“Yes. I have wasted enough time.”

Aurore tried to get a hold of her shaking limbs, to no avail. What the hell was that? And why did it have to happen now?! Grace’s voice had gotten cold, mechanical, as it does when she...

“No! No, I won’t let you transform me again!”

“Shh, my dear. Don’t be so selfish. The world we created tonight belongs to the new you. ”

Her struggle appeared of no use. Grace wasn’t a strong woman, but she was easily able to take hold of her uncontrollable body and force it along with her.


“Don’t worry. You’ll just become a little girl again. Everything painful will just slip away.”

Aurore instinctively looked towards the door to the building’s roof, as if taking breath before the dive into the abyss. What she did not expect was to see someone sitting leisurely on the sofa. Her eyes widened. What...was that thing?!

“Now is not the time to slip anything away, Miss Rivers.”

“What?!” Exclaimed Grace as she turned around, startled.

The strange, distorted male voice seemed familiar to Aurore, even though she was positive it was her first time hearing it. She squinted, trying to make heads or tails of what the hell she was looking at. A man in a sharp, beige suit, that much was for sure, but what did his face look like? What did his voice sound like? Different questions, same idea. Every time she was about to perceive him, her thoughts instead went back to the mystery of the man’s identity. “Who is this? What am I seeing?” She asked herself over and over, unable to process anything past it.

Then, the familiar stranger lifted a gloved hand, and the interrogation anchoring her mind shifted. Aurore’s limbs stopped shaking in an instant. She wasn’t confused anymore. In fact, she had rarely been this focused in her haphazard life. The basement. There was a secret basement beneath the dollhouse. She had to go check. Aurore stood up and calmly went to do just that, blocking out everything else.

“You...What did you do to my daughter?” She didn’t hear Grace fume behind her.

“Simply leaving us alone. Come, take a seat.”

* * *

Grace gulped. What was That Man doing here?! She hardly needed anyone to mess up her plans, let alone the hand that feeds.

“You are trespassing.” She rebuked, intent on standing her ground. “We had an agreement, and I do posit I have brilliantly held up my end. Leave my womb.”

“Yes, yes. I have no objections to make concerning the...New Ground Zero. I shan’t even hold Fikile’s last-second defeat against you. Rather unpredictable, this...”

“...What are you talking about?”

“See, this is what I have come here for. You have not disappointed, Miss Rivers, insofar as I expected your singular focus to turn our delusions into a reality. However, it is fast becoming a liability. Why would I allow you to waste time and resources to assuage your obsession when you have not even noticed your little hound had brought back a mean cat?”

The man behind the veil raised his hand once again, and, unlike Aurore, Grace saw the sentence write itself in mid-air. “See what Giulietta saw.” She gasped, bracing for the jarring experience to follow. Indeed, her senses conformed to That Man’s writ, however impossible it was. She was thrown, violently, into Aurore’s mind. Far from just seeing, Grace went through everything that made Giulietta in this moment. She first felt a buzzing in her brain, then her thoughts going through an algorithm to decide how to react. The creator was prisoner to the creature, forced to think exactly like it.

When she was finally freed, going back into her own state of mind felt like whiplash. She staggered, her back to the wall. It took her several seconds to get a grip.

“Urrgh...I...I’d very much appreciate if your writ held itself to its strict meaning.” Admonished the silver-haired woman, holding back her anger. “Giu is half program. Full empathy with her would be dangerous in a careful process.”

“Magic would be worth little if it was tied down by semantic concerns. Now. I trust you understand the situation?”

Grace took a moment to calm herself and regain her poise.

“This Swedish woman has surprised Fikile with some sort of prototype, which is of concern, I agree. However, Giulietta has swapped her with one of the hostages as per my contingency plans. She is contained. Why bother me with a bump in the road?”

“Oh, please, Miss Rivers; Do not look at the finger when it points at the moon. We are in a critical moment. You have succeeded in shocking the world. You pass. Magna Cum Laude, too. But if you still have any sort of grip on practicality, surely you realize now isn’t the time to play HOUSE!!”

That Man had let his writ slam the table on his behalf. Words of absolute power over people and objects. Its restricted scope notwithstanding, this ability understandably worried Grace to no end. Her “partner” was as dangerous as he was erratic. And so, though her royal blood demanded to rise up to the humiliation, Grace could only try to refocus the conversation, bearing her outrage in silence.

“Aurore has assimilated all three personas. Whatever is afflicting her...It must have been this scientist’s device...Whatever it is, it doesn’t prevent her final transformation into the ultimate mage. She is ready. Let me heal her and do the procedure.”


“Do you still believe this is exclusively about me birthing a daughter?” Inquired Grace, irritated. “I planned to benefit you as well! Hers will be the power to conquer this world. Isn’t this what you want?”

“Hopeless...” Sighed That Man. “You have carefully crafted a mage, and thrown the world into disarray. But what you will not understand is that Aurore has made herself obsolete the moment she completed her task. Your plans of a daughter would only make her the lone common enemy of the unenlightened. She is useless to me. As she should be to you.”

His tone was certain, cold as steel. While his disdain for Aurore it came as no surprise to Grace, it still did come as a shock.

“Why, you...!”

“I will have you create the new species with the livestock I have stored underground. Enough fairy tales for you, Miss Rivers. Now, work begins.”

“Livestock?! What do you...”

Grace saw the words “Display the test subjects in sub-level 6″ and knew her question would answer itself. Sub-level 6 was That Man’s secret laboratory. The air started shimmering with light and displayed an image as ordered. There was a row of hospital beds, men and women tightly strapped to them by her boss’ floating words. They were gagged, blindfolded, helpless.

“Surely you remember our initial overload hypothesis? You are going to turn them into walking magic dispensaries.”

“But...We had rejected this course of action! They will die!”

“Gifting countless people the keys to this new existence.”

“Possibly condemning them to death too! This is a mad gamble. I refuse.”

“Do you now.”

New words of power took their place in the air between the two conspirators. Grace kept her eyes down, afraid of facing what That Man had in store for her if she pursued her protests.

“Give me one hour.” She requested, gulping.

“Why would I?”

“This Sandström woman is a good subject to test a safer transformation method I had theorized. Magical abilities are not guaranteed to develop, but her mind wouldn’t be at risk. Plus it should help Aurore recover.”

“Experimental data could be valuable. Somewhat. But the whole world is looking for us now. Efficiency is in our best interests.”

“Please. Just one hour...Then I will do whatever sinister task you want of me.”

That Man’s stayed his hand, but did not retract it. Surely one hour wouldn’t be enough for the old world to put an end to his plans, resourceful as it proved to be. On the other hand, this particular writ would prove immensely satisfying to use on this needy yet impertinent woman.

After careful deliberation, he dissolved the terrible words.

“So be it.”